Fórsa has agreed new and stronger governance procedures for the special needs assistant (SNA) supplementary assignment panel, which is now included in a new circular issued by the Department of Education.
The supplementary assignment panel facilitates eligible SNAs who are being made redundant to take up posts that become available other schools.
Fórsa official Shane Lambert explained the revised arrangements. “When an employer notifies an SNA of redundancy, they now must immediately provide that SNA with a ‘PF1’ form. The SNA can then use this form to apply for an advertised vacancy. Employers must interview PF1 candidates in the first instance.
“For example, if an employer receives an application for a vacancy, from one or more SNAs who are due to be made redundant, and who provide the employer with a certified copy of the ‘PF1’ form, the employer is obliged to offer the vacancy to one of those SNAs.
“This is obviously subject to the SNA meeting specific competencies and/or requirements to meet the additional care needs of the pupil or pupils set out in the advertisement for the post,” he said.
Shane explained that SNAs who are made redundant, on or after 1st May 2020, and who haven’t obtained a new position, will remain on the panel, and will maintain panel rights until 30th April 2022, extending the opportunity to gain SNA employment.
He said SNAs on the panel may of course opt out, and have their redundancy payment processed, but said this won’t happen automatically.
Shane is advising SNA members to familiarise themselves with the contents of the new circular. “The wording and format have been changed to emphasise and highlight the new provisions for members and the new obligations on employers. This is important information for SNAs who may be facing redundancy.
“We’ve agreed a new governance provision for the first time and if members believe employers are not adhering to the new provisions, for instance if they’re not offering additional hours to existing part time SNAs, or not interviewing PF1 candidates in the first instance, or even seeking essential skills or qualifications higher than the agreed minimum, then members can report such incidents to us confidentially.
“Fórsa can now raise these issues with the department, or appropriate management body, without identifying individuals. It gives the union greater scope to highlight where such instances might be occurring,” he said.
You can access the circular HERE.
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